After a dope release with The Family EP, Belgium native Modek has the next installment in our guest mix series. It’s hard, fast, and full of that great electro/techno sound we’ve all been swooning over recently. While you listen, we were lucky enough to chat with Modek about the EP, among other topics, which is played out in full throughout the mix. In the interview, we get a glimpse into his influences, production style, and recent gigs – a must read for any techno fan regardless of location.
I wanted to start off by asking you about your new EP The Family – what was the process behind that EP and has it been any different than previous releases?
Well, I think it has to have been different because, well, you’ve heard it I think? [Yes.] Cool, so I really started out with the ‘Jimmy’ track, and I thought it was a bit different because it uses old school samples and alot of old school type things. So that’s the first track, and then I wanted to make something a bit more Bad Life kind of stuff, so then I made ‘Donny’. Then the last one is ‘Sally’, also something different I think, not that hard. I don’t know actually if it’s really hard, if it’s a hard track or not. I just wanted to make something with weird vocals that nobody understands, so that worked out a bit.
I notice some acid house influences on there, were you listening to alot of acid or was that something you’d always wanted to try?
Not really listening to acid, like real acid, but I’m always listening to new stuff, things I get in, I just hear that, it sounds cool to me. I really don’t want to put in acid just because it’s cool for everyone, I just thought it sounded cool, and I thought, ‘yeah, maybe give it a try’. I also have a DJ friend here in Belgium, he’s called DJ Goldfox, he also told me I should try some acid things, so gave it a go. Alot of the time I don’t even realize that I’m doing something, so when it turned out acid I was just like ‘oh yeah, okay, it sounds a bit like what I’ve been listening to’ [laughs].
So if you’re producing based partially on stuff you’ve been listening to, do you find yourself influenced or sample searching based on tracks you’ve been getting in or hearing?
Yeah, always actually. I get alot of promo tracks from guys, and I always think when someone tries something new it’s really cool, and that always is influencing me. I don’t think I always do something really new or refreshing, I try to do that, but it’s almost always influenced by something else. When you look at the new EP, I think ‘Jimmy’ is something new, something different, because I just started with some sounds and it all turned out like a track and became ‘Jimmy’, but I think in some of the tracks you can definitely hear that they’re being influenced by something that’s going on at the moment.
I love the names for the tracks on that EP [The Family], where did the idea behind that come from?
Yeah I’m not sure actually. I wanted to do something kind of mafia-ish, but the graphic artist didn’t hear the tracks he just new it was called Family EP, he didn’t even know the names of the tracks, and then he did the art with the real family, you know the guy with the glasses. Yeah, so it became more of a family thing and I think it’s even better like that. I really like the artwork for it, and yeah, I love the whole package.
Switching gears a little bit, where do you start when you’re producing a track? You mentioned searching for samples and putting sounds together, is there a specific process that you have or does it change every time?
Well, I always start with a 4/4 kick drum, [laughs], so it has four beats, then I start looking for cool bass sounds or other sounds like synthesizers. I rarely start with samples, though, most of the time I use them to finish off some stuff or make things sound more interesting, most of the times I just start with one loop, then I try to find something cool. But yeah when I start with a 4/4 beat it doesn’t always end up a 4/4 beat. And again ‘Jimmy’ is something completely different, I just found this heavy bass sound and I decided to work from there.
And I’ve got to ask you more on the technical side, in your earlier work you’ve had some crazy stabs [see remix of Mustard Pimp’s ‘Money Shot’], any specific techniques to making those?
Do you have a specific plug-in or VST you use alot?
Well, I always use Reason, you know Reason? So I get alot of comments on that, that I should switch to something more ‘pro’, but I just started out with Reason and I know alot of stuff in Reason, so it’s always the same synthesizers in there, when they bring out something new sometimes there is a new synth, but yeah it’s always those VSTS. Subtractor I really love, because it’s pretty down to earth, you can really see what you’ve got. I always start with a simple soundwave and edit that. I don’t really use alot of patches, but I do use alot of the same synthesizers over and over again.
Well I say keep on it, sounds awesome right now. You’ve played a number of big shows recently, any memorable moments?
Yeah, there have been a number of really cool gigs, a number of really special moments in my life, even. I think the first one was when I played in Budapest, in Hungary, it’s been a really long time since I’ve been there but it’s been the first really really big thing I did. I think there were 7,000 people at the venue, but there were different halls of course, not 7,000 people at my stage, but I think there were 2,000 people there and it was my first big thing. So that was a really cool one. Last week was Laundry Day, it’s pretty big in Belgium. I played there pretty early, so I thought ‘yeah, it’s really early, not going to be alot of people’, but when I played the tent was packed. It was really cool to play in my home country, because you always go to these festivals and always want to play there. Just because you can bring your friends or whatever, I don’t know why. But yeah, it was really good, there were alot of people and a great atmosphere as well. I definitely love all the festivals I do. I love the clubs actually as well, it’s always great.
It seems like you’re playing very internationally and all over the place, do you notice a different crowd reaction to your music when you play out?
Definitely, yeah. I think that best crowd for me ‘till now has been the one in Hungary, then I played in Vienna and it was really crazy as well. There are some places where people seem to party a bit more crazy, you know? I think Belgium can be really good as well, but sometimes the crowd is a bit less…easy.
Do you notice yourself playing different styles of music in these different places?
I don’t really change styles that much. The one time I really noticed that was when I played in Germany. I was playing before the Cyberpunkers, and they’re really hard. They start off really hard and just go all the way, so I didn’t really know but I felt that people responded more to the harder stuff, the harder beats. So I just played harder stuff of course, but most of the time it’s just what I want to play, and I’m lucky enough that people also want to hear that.
Is there anywhere you haven’t played yet that you really want to in the near future?
Alot of places actually. We’re still working on something in U.S.A, would be really cool of course because I’m from Europe. But also places in Europe, I’ve heard that Glasgow in Scotland has a really good techno scene, it’s supposed to be really good, so I’d love to play there and be able to say I’ve played in, well, I think it’s one of the techno capitals, you’ve got Clouds in there, and Ado, and they just told me that it’s so crazy over there sometimes. Just the U.K, I really want to go over there sometime.
I would head all the way out there to see all three of you guys on the same stage [laughs]. Techno over here is definitely getting big, where it hadn’t before, and so I’ve heard a change in the style, where do you think the genre is heading?
Any old school stuff you find yourself inspired by?
I’m not sure, because I’ve not been into this style of music for so long. It’s starting to be a bit more difficult to say that, I used to be a real rocker, you know? Some day, I don’t know when exactly, I was just playing with Reason, and I just came into this music. I’m a bit ashamed to admit this but I’m not, you know, I don’t everything about the history of the dance music, just always cool stuff that I hear. I’m now thinking about doing some old bootlegs from old classics. I’m with Lektroluv and he’s starting to help me pick the tracks because he’s better at knowing what’s cool. I’ve got alot of tracks in my mind, but most of the time they’re a bit too commercial from that time, the old tracks. I could talk all day about things that inspire me, yeah.
How’d you get started with Lektroluv?
He’s pretty big in Belgium, I think anyone who knows about techno knows about him. So it was always one of my goals from the start. I just mailed him some demos, and after awhile he replied and we just kind of got going and it’s going really well. Third EP now, I think I’ve done two remixes for him as well. It’s a great label, great guy.
I gotta ask, where does the name come from?
Modek? It’s a really dull story actually [laughs]. First I was called Mellow, some centuries ago, but that name was already taken, there’s already a DJ Mellow with Fool’s Gold or something, I’m not sure. In any case I couldn’t get that, so I just started looking for something that looked a bit like it [laughs]. Another thing that helped me was…you know the X-Men? [Yeah]. There’s this little guy called MODOK, so I know that as well, so I thought ‘Modok, Modek, switch it up a bit and then we got a new name’[Laughs].
That’s awesome [laughs]. I’m pretty much out of questions, any final words?
I’m pretty suck at final words, don’t have anything genius to say. I just hope you enjoy the mix, enjoy the future EPs that are going to come out. I think there’s alot more stuff coming with Lektroluv as well.
I’m very much looking forward to both of those! I wanted to thank you again for talking to us today, glad we figured it out a time!
Yeah, yeah, perfect [laughs], it was a bit weird because I think Brandon sent me a mail at 5 A.M. here so I was confused a bit [laughs].
01. Veit B – Castle
02. Allmostt – Rage
03. Modek – Sally
04. Andrea Doria – Bucci Bag (Mumbai Science Edit)
05. The Sneekers – G.A.S. (Just Regular Guys)
06. Modek – Jimmy
07. D.I.M. – Loaded
08. Elektropusher – Anaemic (Misk Remix)
09. John Roman – Monitor
10. Modek – Donny
11. Style Of Eye – Ray Dee Oh (Club Mix)
12. Hoshina Anniversary – Chicago (Turbo Turbo Remix)
13. Boris Dlugosch – Cycle
14. The Loops of Fury – Church of Fury
15. Of Monsters & Men – Little Talks (Passion Pit Remix)